Parasites Found In North Korea Trash Balloons

( – In May, North Korea reportedly started sending large balloons filled with trash over the border to South Korea. The devices contained items like cigarette butts, cloth, spent batteries, diapers, and manure — meant to spread waste over its rival country to the south. Recently, South Korea revealed the balloons contained something much more nefarious.

Officials from Seoul revealed that testing showed “numerous parasites” in the soil within the balloons sent from North Korea. The specimens included “roundworms, whipworms, and threadworms,” all of which can make people sick. Roundworms can cause tissue and possible nerve damage in humans, and whipworms and threadworms can cause intestinal issues. The authorities in South Korea believe the parasites originated from human waste. Over the last few weeks, over 1,000 giant trash balloons have been sent across the border into South Korea.

Activists in the Asian nation responded to the North’s dirty deed by sending balloons of their own back across the border. They were reportedly filled with anti-regime leaflets, US dollar bills, and USB drives filled with K-pop songs and TV dramas from South Korea, which angered the North. The sister of North Korean President Kim Jong Un, Kim Yo Jong, threatened South Korea after the retaliatory stunt. She indicated there would be consequences for their actions, but didn’t detail what that might entail.

Other responses to the North’s balloon campaign included South Korea setting up speakers along the border to blast K-pop songs directly into North Korea, in addition to direct criticisms of the country’s policies and news about the weather.

Foreign information is strictly controlled in North Korea, so the move was in direct defiance of the country’s laws. Kim Jong Un’s nation reportedly took it as a provocation. However, Ewha University Professor Leif-Eric Easley previously stated that the “immediate danger of military escalation is not high” between the two countries.

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